That’s right, the middle of February. Winter. Much of the country is in a snow and ice death-grip. If I haven’t mentioned it, much of the country is really, really, silly cold. So, what does all this mean?
Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday and the first full-day workout is today! The rest of the roster must be in camp by Wednesday and then all that is good in world will begin to slowly devolve into the disappointment that will be the Kansas City Royals final record.
But the final record is not what baseball, and indeed this 2007, is about. No, baseball is about following the team, living and dying with them. It’s about process; it’s about lifestyle. The sound of a well-struck ball coming through the radio and into your car or out over your driveway where you shoot hoops with your friends. It’s about getting to the stadium 2 hours early so you can watch BP. It’s about being a nerd, buying that program and scoring the game as you watch (and not spilling your beer or dropping the dog). Will Mike Sweeney stay healthy and finally have that monster year to close out his KC tenure? Can Zach Grienke harness his potential and be hurling for his 20th victory in late September? You see, most of all baseball is about hope. Baseball is personal.
Football is the king of American sports, but it is about fantasy leagues and star power. It’s fun to follow and you can live it–but it can’t live you. The saying is that baseball is a grind and there is truth to that–games practically every day for 6 months–no other sport can compare. It is the grind that makes baseball special. On any given day, and this is literally everyday of the summer, your team can win. And when the team isn’t winning, there may be individuals that are having good years. And baseball gives you no time to merely chat about what is going on and wait for the next game or the next week. Baseball gives you something meaningful every single day. There is no rest, there is no relaxing, there is only the next game.
And in mid February before any pitch has been thrown, when there is only a long string of next games, everyone can hope. The season is long, it is unpredictable, and it could always, just maybe, be your year.